City of Paterson, NJ
Passaic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Paterson 1-22-1991 by Ord. No. 91-006; amended in its entirety 5-9-2017 by Ord. No. 17-041. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 121.
Block parties — See Ch. 137.
Coin-operated laundries — See Ch. 301.
Nuisances — See Ch. 341.
Parades and processions — See Ch. 355.
It is the policy of the City of Paterson to prevent excessive sound, which may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of its citizens or degrade the quality of life.
This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from sources within the City of Paterson.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Terms not defined in this chapter have the same meaning as those defined in N.J.A.C. 7:29.
COMMERCIAL FACILITY
Any premises, property or facility involving traffic in goods or furnishing of services for sale or profit, including but not limited to:
A. 
Banking and other financial institutions;
B. 
Dining establishments;
C. 
Establishments for providing retail services;
D. 
Establishments for providing wholesale services;
E. 
Establishments for recreation and entertainment;
F. 
Office buildings;
G. 
Transportation;
H. 
Warehouses; and
I. 
Establishments providing living accommodations which exceed six dwelling units, including, but not limited to, apartments, co-ops, hotels, motels, and dormitories, when they are the source of the sound that is being investigated and the source of sound is a heating, air-conditioning, pool filter unit or system, or outdoor amplified sound system.
COMMUNITY SERVICE FACILITY
Any nonresidential facility used to provide service to the public, including but not limited to:
A. 
Club meeting halls, offices and facilities;
B. 
Organization offices and facilities;
C. 
Facilities for the support and practice of religion;
D. 
Private and parochial schools;
E. 
Hospitals;
F. 
Offices and buildings of agencies or instrumentalities of government; and
G. 
Maintenance centers (such as Department of Public Works facilities).
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration, or similar action of buildings or structures.
CONTINUOUS AIRBORNE SOUND
Sound that is measured by the slow response setting of a sound-level meter in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:29-2, and which lasts one second or longer. Impulsive sounds that are rapidly repetitive and have a duration of one second or longer shall be measured as continuous airborne sound.
dBA
The abbreviation designating the unit of sound level as measured by a sound-level meter using the A-weighting.
DECIBEL (dB)
The practical unit of measurement for sound pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated "dB."
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, destruction or removal of buildings, structures, or roadways.
DEPARTMENT
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work or action necessary at the site of an emergency to restore or deliver essential services, including, but not limited to, repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone, sewer facilities, or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way, dredging navigational waterways, or abating life-threatening conditions or a state of emergency declared by a governing agency.
FREQUENCY
The number of sound pressure oscillations per second expressed in hertz; abbreviated "Hz."
IMPULSIVE SOUND
Either a single pressure peak or a single burst (multiple pressure peaks) that has a duration of less than one second.
INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
Any facility, whether public or private, and its related premises, property, or equipment involving:
A. 
The fabrication, manufacture, or production of durable or nondurable goods; or
B. 
Industrial-like activities, including, but not limited to:
(1) 
Waste collection;
(2) 
Waste incineration;
(3) 
Waste recycling;
(4) 
Water and sewage treatment; and
(5) 
Electricity generation.
MINOR VIOLATION
A violation that is not the result of the purposeful, reckless or criminally negligent conduct of the alleged violator; and/or the activity or condition constituting the violation has not been the subject of an enforcement action by any authorized local, county or state enforcement agency against the violator within the immediately preceding 12 months for the same or substantially similar violation.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle that is propelled other than by human or animal power on land.
MUFFLER
A properly functioning sound dissipative device or system for abating the sound on engines or equipment where such device is part of the normal configuration of the equipment.
MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
Any building comprising two or more dwelling units, including, but not limited to, apartments, condominiums, co-ops, multiple-family houses, townhouses, and attached residences.
MULTI-USE PROPERTY
Any distinct parcel of land that is used for more than one category of activity. Examples include, but are not limited to:
A. 
A commercial, residential, industrial or public service property having boilers, incinerators, elevators, automatic garage doors, air conditioners, laundry rooms, utility provisions, or health and recreational facilities, or other similar devices or areas, either in the interior or on the exterior of the building, which may be a source of elevated sound levels at another category on the same distinct parcel of land; or
B. 
A building, which is both commercial (usually on the ground floor) and residential property, located above, below or otherwise adjacent to.
NOISE CONTROL INVESTIGATOR (NCI)
An employee of a municipality, county or regional health commission that has a Department-approved model noise control ordinance, and the employee has not received noise enforcement training as specified by the Department in N.J.A.C. 7:29. However, they are knowledgeable about their model noise ordinance and enforcement procedures. A Noise Control Investigator may only enforce sections of the ordinance that do not require the use of a sound-level meter. The employee must be acting within his or her designated jurisdiction and must be authorized to issue a summons.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER (NCO)
An employee of a local, county or regional health agency which is certified pursuant to the County Environmental Health Act (N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-21 et seq.) to perform noise enforcement activities or an employee of a municipality with a Department-approved model noise control ordinance. All NCOs must receive noise enforcement training as specified by the Department in N.J.A.C. 7:29 and must be currently certified in noise enforcement. The employee must be acting within his or her designated jurisdiction and must be authorized to issue a summons.
PERSON
Any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, governmental agency, department or bureau of the state, municipality, industry, or association, including condominium or co-op associations, limited liability corporations, and partnerships and limited liability partnerships.
PLAINLY AUDIBLE
Any sound that can be detected by an NCO or an NCI using his or her unaided hearing faculties of normal acuity. As an example, if the sound source under investigation is a portable or vehicular sound amplification or reproduction device, the detection of the rhythmic bass component of the music is sufficient to verify plainly audible sound. The NCO or NCI need not determine the title, specific words, or the artist performing the song.
PRIVATE RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or easement that is owned, leased, or controlled by a nongovernmental entity.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place that is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
PUBLIC SPACE
Any real property or structure thereon which is owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
REAL PROPERTY LINE
Either a) the vertical boundary that separates one parcel of property (i.e., lot and block) from another residential or commercial property; b) the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is part of a multidwelling unit building; or c) on a multi-use property as defined herein, the vertical or horizontal boundaries between the two portions of the property on which different categories of activity are being performed (e.g., if the multi-use property is a building which is residential upstairs and commercial downstairs, then the real property line would be the interface between the residential area and the commercial area, or if there is an outdoor sound source such as an HVAC unit on the same parcel of property, the boundary line is the exterior wall of the receiving unit). Note: This definition shall not apply to a commercial source and a commercial receptor which are both located on the same parcel of property (e.g., a strip mall).
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Property used for human habitation, unless the habitation is a condition of employment, including but not limited to:
A. 
Private property used for human habitation;
B. 
Commercial living accommodations and commercial property used for human habitation;
C. 
Recreational and entertainment property used for human habitation;
D. 
Community service property used for human habitation.
SOUND PRODUCTION DEVICE
Any device whose primary function is the production of sound, including, but not limited to, any musical instrument, loudspeaker, radio, television, digital or analog music player, public address system or sound-amplifying equipment.
SOUND REDUCTION DEVICE
Any device, such as a muffler, baffle, shroud, jacket, enclosure, isolator, or dampener provided by the manufacturer with the equipment, or that is otherwise required, that mitigates the sound emissions of the equipment.
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument for the measurement of sound levels as specified in N.J.A.C. 7:29-2.6(a)1, which provisions are incorporated herein by reference.
STATIONARY EMERGENCY SIGNALING DEVICE
Any device, excluding those attached to motor vehicles, used to alert local persons engaged in local emergency operations. These include, but are not limited to, firefighters, first aid squad members and law enforcement officers, whether paid or volunteer.
WEEKDAY
Any day that is not a federal holiday, and beginning on Monday at 7:00 a.m. and ending on the following Friday at 6:00 p.m.
WEEKENDS
Beginning on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending on the following Monday at 7:00 a.m.
A. 
The Director of the Division of Health shall:
(1) 
Review the actions of all municipal departments and advise such departments of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control.
(2) 
Coordinate the noise control activities of all municipal departments and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extent practicable.
(3) 
Review public and private projects, subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments, for compliance with this chapter.
(4) 
Administer noise program grants and other funds and gifts from public and private sources, including the state and federal governments.
(5) 
Conduct or cause to be conducted research, monitoring and other studies related to sound.
(6) 
Conduct programs of public education regarding the cause, effects and general methods of abatement and control of noise and the actions prohibited by this chapter and the procedures for reporting violations.
B. 
Applicable property categories.
(1) 
This chapter applies to sound from the following property categories:
(a) 
Industrial facilities;
(b) 
Commercial facilities;
(c) 
Public service facilities;
(d) 
Community service facilities;
(e) 
Residential properties;
(f) 
Multi-use properties;
(g) 
Public and private rights-of-way;
(h) 
Public spaces; and
(i) 
Multi-dwelling-unit buildings.
(2) 
This chapter applies to sound received at the following property categories:
(a) 
Commercial facilities;
(b) 
Public service facilities;
(c) 
Community service facilities (i.e., nonprofits and/or religious facilities);
(d) 
Residential properties;
(e) 
Multi-use properties;
(f) 
Multi-dwelling-unit buildings.
(3) 
Sound from stationary emergency signaling devices shall be regulated in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:29-1.4, except that the testing of the electromechanical functioning of a stationary emergency signaling device shall not meet or exceed 10 seconds.
A. 
Except as provided in § 337-11 below, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the exceptions listed at N.J.A.C. 7:29-1.5.
A. 
Noise Control Officers shall have the authority within their designated jurisdiction to investigate suspected violations of any section of this chapter and pursue enforcement activities.
B. 
Noise Control Investigators shall have the authority within their designated jurisdiction to investigate suspected violations of any section of this chapter that do not require the use of a sound level meter (i.e., plainly audible, times of day and/or distance determinations) and pursue enforcement activities.
C. 
Noise Control Officers and Investigators may cooperate with NCOs and NCIs of an adjacent municipality in enforcing one another's municipal noise ordinances.
D. 
Both NCIs and NCOs shall include the Department of Health and Human Services and the Paterson Police Department.
A. 
Sound measurements made by a Noise Control Officer shall conform to the procedures set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:29-2, except that interior sound level measurements shall also conform with the procedures set forth in Subsection B and with the definition of "real property line" as contained herein.
B. 
When conducting indoor sound level measurements across a real property line, the measurements shall be taken at least three feet from any wall, floor or ceiling, and all exterior doors and windows may, at the discretion of the investigator, be closed. The neighborhood residual sound level shall be measured in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:29-2.9(b)2. When measuring total sound level, the configuration of the windows and doors shall be the same, and all sound sources within the dwelling unit must be shut off (e.g., television, stereo).
C. 
Measurements shall not be taken in areas which receive only casual use, such as hallways, closets and bathrooms.
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the operation of any source of sound on any source property listed in § 337-4B(1) above in such a manner as to create a sound level that equals or exceeds the sound level limits set forth in Tables I, II or III when measured at or within the real property line of any of the receiving properties listed in Tables I, II or III, except as specified in § 337-7B.
B. 
Impulsive sound. Between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., impulsive sound shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels. Between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., impulsive sound which occurs less than four times in any hour shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels. Impulsive sound which repeats four or more times in any hour shall be measured as continuous sound and shall meet the requirements as shown in Tables I and II.
Table I
Maximum Permissible A-Weighed Sound Levels When Measured Outdoors
Receiving Property Category
Residential Property or Residential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
Residential Property or Residential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
Commercial Public Service Facility, Nonresidential Portion of a Multi-Use Property, or Community Service Facility
Time
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
24 hours
Maximum A-Weighted Sound Level Standard, dB
65
50
65
Table II
Maximum Permissible A-Weighted Sound Levels When Measured Indoors
Receiving Property Category
Residential Property, or Residential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
Commercial Facility or Nonresidential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
Time
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
24 hours
Maximum A-Weighted Sound Level Standard, dB
55
40
55
Note: Table II shall only apply when the source and the receptor are separated by a real property line and they also share a common or abutting wall, floor or ceiling, or are on the same parcel of property.
Table III
Maximum Permissible Octave Band Sound Pressure Levels in Decibels
Receiving Property Category
Residential Property or Residential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
(outdoors)
Residential Property, or Residential Portion of a Multi-Use Property
(indoors)
Commercial Facility, Public Service Facility, Nonresident- ial Portion of a Multi-use Property, or Community Service Facility
(outdoors)
Commercial Facility or Nonresident- ial Portion of a Multi-Use Property
(indoors)
Octave Band Center Frequency Level, Hz
Octave Band Sound Pressure Level, dB
Octave Band Sound Pressure Level, dB
Octave Band Sound Pressure Level, dB
Octave Band Sound Pressure Level, dB
Time
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
24 hours
24 hours
31.5
96
86
86
76
96
86
63
82
71
72
61
82
72
125
74
61
64
51
74
64
250
67
53
57
43
67
57
500
63
48
53
38
63
53
1,000
60
45
50
35
60
50
2,000
57
42
47
32
57
47
4,000
55
40
45
30
55
45
8,000
53
38
43
28
53
43
Note: When octave measurements are made, the sound from the source must be constant in level and character. If octave band sound pressure level variations exceed plus or minus 2 dB in the bands containing the principal source frequencies, discontinue the measurement.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the operation of any sound production device in such a manner that the sound crosses a property line and raises the total sound levels above the neighborhood residual sound level by more than the permissible sound level limits set forth in Table IV when measured within the residence of a complainant according to the measurement protocol in § 337-7B of this chapter. These sound level measurements shall be conducted with the sound level meter set for "C" weighting, "fast" response.
Table IV
Maximum Permissible Increase in Total Sound Levels Within a Residential Property
Weeknights 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Weekend nights 11:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
All Other Times
3 dB (C)
6 dB(C)
The following standards shall apply to the activities or sources of sound set forth below:
A. 
Excluding emergency work, power tools, home maintenance tools, landscaping and/or yard maintenance equipment used by a residential property owner or tenant shall not be operated between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., unless such activities can meet the applicable limits set forth in Tables I, II or III. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III do not apply. All motorized equipment used in these activities shall be operated with a muffler and/or sound reduction device.
B. 
Excluding emergency work, power tools, landscaping and/or yard maintenance equipment used by nonresidential operators (e.g., commercial operators, public employees) shall not be operated on residential, commercial, industrial or public (e.g., golf course, parks, athletic fields) property between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on weekends or federal holidays, unless such activities can meet the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III do not apply. All motorized equipment used in these activities shall be operated with a muffler and/or sound reduction device.
C. 
All construction and demolition activity, excluding emergency work, shall not be performed between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on weekends and federal holidays, unless such activities can meet the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III do not apply. All motorized equipment used in construction and demolition activity shall be operated with a muffler and/or sound reduction device.
D. 
Motorized snow removal equipment shall be operated with a muffler and/or a sound reduction device when being used for snow removal. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III do not apply.
E. 
All interior and exterior burglar alarms of a building or motor vehicle must be activated in such a manner that the burglar alarm terminates its operation within five minutes for continuous airborne sound and 15 minutes for intermittent sound after it has been activated. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I, II or III do not apply.
F. 
Self-contained, portable, nonvehicular music or sound production devices shall not be operated on a public space or public right-of-way in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., sound, operated on a public space or public right-of-way, from such equipment shall not be plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet in any direction from the operator.
G. 
Animal noise.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any property owner or tenant to allow any domesticated or caged animal to create a sound across a real property line which unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace, comfort, and repose of any resident, or to refuse or intentionally fail to cease the unreasonable noise when ordered to do so by a Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator. Prima facie evidence of a violation of this section shall include but not be limited to:
(a) 
Vocalizing (howling, yelping, barking, squawking, etc.) for five minutes without interruption, defined as an average of four or more vocalizations per minute in that period; or
(b) 
Vocalizing for 20 minutes intermittently, defined as an average of two vocalizations or more per minute in that period.
(2) 
It is an affirmative defense under this subsection that the dog or other animal was intentionally provoked to bark or make any other noise.
Violations of each subsection of this section shall be considered purposeful and therefore non-minor.
A. 
No person shall remove or render inoperative, or cause to be removed or rendered inoperative or less effective than originally equipped, other than for the purposes of maintenance, repair, or replacement, any device or element of design incorporated in any motor vehicle for the purpose of noise control. No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle which has been so modified. A vehicle not meeting these requirements shall be deemed in violation of this provision if it is operated stationary or in motion in any public space or public right-of-way.
B. 
No motorcycle shall be operated stationary or in motion unless it has a muffler that complies with and is labeled in accordance with the federal noise regulations under 40 CFR Part 205.
C. 
Personal or commercial vehicular music amplification or reproduction equipment shall not be operated in such a manner that it is plainly audible at distance of 25 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
D. 
Personal or commercial vehicular music amplification or reproduction equipment shall not be operated in such a manner that is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
A. 
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for a notice of violation (NOV) or a notice of penalty assessment (NOPA) document to be issued to the violator by the Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator.
B. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty for each offense of not more than the maximum penalty pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-5, which is $2,000 as of December 2014. If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it occurs shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense.
C. 
Upon identification of a violation of this chapter, the Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator shall issue an enforcement document to the violator. The enforcement document shall identify the condition or activity that constitutes the violation and the specific provision of this chapter that has been violated. It shall also indicate whether the violator has a period of time to correct the violation before a penalty is sought.
D. 
If the violation is deemed by the Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator to be a minor violation (as defined in § 337-3 of this chapter), an NOV shall be issued to the violator.
(1) 
The document shall indicate that the purpose of the NOV is intended to serve as a notice to warn the responsible party/violator of the violation conditions in order to provide them with an opportunity to voluntarily investigate the matter and voluntarily take corrective action to address the identified violation.
(2) 
The NOV shall identify the time period (up to 90 days), pursuant to the Grace Period Law, N.J.S.A. 13:1D-125 et seq., where the responsible party's/violator's voluntary action can prevent a formal enforcement action with penalties issued by the Health Department of the City of Paterson. It shall be noted that the NOV does not constitute a formal enforcement action, a final agency action or a final legal determination that a violation has occurred. Therefore, the NOV may not be appealed or contested.
E. 
If the violation is deemed by the Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator to be a non-minor violation, the violator shall be notified that if the violation is not immediately corrected, an NOPA with a civil penalty of not more than the maximum penalty allowed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-5, which is $2,000 as of December 2014, will be issued. If a non-minor violation is immediately corrected, an NOV without a civil penalty shall still be issued to document the violation. If the violation occurs again (within 12 months of the initial violation), an NOPA shall be issued, regardless of whether the violation is immediately corrected or not.
F. 
The violator may request from the Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator, an extension of the compliance deadline in the enforcement action. The Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator shall have the option to approve any reasonable request for an extension (not to exceed 180 days) if the violator can demonstrate that a good-faith effort has been made to achieve compliance. If an extension is not granted and the violation continues to exist after the grace period ends, an NOPA shall be issued.
G. 
The recipient of an NOPA shall be entitled to a hearing in a municipal court having jurisdiction to contest such action.
H. 
The Noise Control Officer or Noise Control Investigator may seek injunctive relief if the responsible party does not remediate the violation within the period of time specified in the NOPA issued.
I. 
Any claim for a civil penalty may be compromised and settled based on the following factors:
(1) 
Mitigating or any other extenuating circumstances;
(2) 
The timely implementation by the violator of measures which lead to compliance;
(3) 
The conduct of the violator; and
(4) 
The compliance history of the violator.